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BREW YOUR OWN KOM-BOOCH-A by michelle cordeiro, cnp

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Do you have any rituals that you love? 

Maybe it's waking up and making coffee, spending time in the kitchen, doing a crossword with your roomies (hey guys!), or long afternoon dog walks. For me, it's creating a big batch of home brewed kombucha and watching my baby SCOBY's grow and grow and grow. I LOVE IT. 

If you've ever brewed your own kombucha, you know what I'm talking about. And if you haven't, join me this summer for a Kombucha Making Workshop! I love these workshops and love giving away my boochy expertise, SCOBY's + Starter to get more home brewers going! Join me :) 

I started brewing kombucha about 2 years ago and have pretty much fallen in love with the process, my bebe SCOBY's and the drink itself (tastes great on it's own, flavoured with ginger, or spiked with an added shot of rum). A quick Google search and you'll find the list of potential benefits is quite hefty, but I've found that there are specific advantages that I notice most - more on that soon! 

KOMBUCHA, WHAT ARE YOU? 

Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented bevvie made from tea, sugar and a culture of bacteria and yeast (it's not gross, promise). The tea is fermented for 14-21 days which builds up the healthy acids and probiotics that do wonders for gut health. 

The bacteria and yeast component is called a SCOBY, which stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. The SCOBY (also known as the culture, the mother, the brain, the jellyfish...) eats up the caffeine and sugar to create organic acids that are present in the final brew. These wonderful acids are great for your health in many many ways, such as... 

THESE ADVANTAGES

We're talking less bloating, better digestion, increased nutrient absorption, energy boosts, immune system improvements, detoxification and on and on it goes. But I encourage (as with all things) to see how it makes you feel in your body and go from there. 

I find that kombucha does WONDERS to boost my stomach acid levels and reduce acid reflux, while helping my digestive system work a little more efficiently. For this same reason, it feels great to down some booch after a big meal when I feel sluggish and bleh. And I mean, it makes sense when you combine the fizz, the organic acids AND the added fresh ginger (that I rarely leave out of a brew because I love the SPICE). 

The probiotics found in kombucha help to reinoculate your gut with GOOD, disease-fighting bacteria that ward off bad bacteria from making a long term home in your belly. And while the amount and strains of these bacteria aren't as plentiful as taking a high dose probiotic supplement, by incorporating kombucha (and other fermented foods) into your diet, you're able to ensure you're getting a small dose of good bacteria each day. I like to think of the probiotics in kombucha as a good maintenance dose that you can easily incorporate into your life in a delicious and inexpensive way (when made at home of course!). 

When we think of detoxification, our liver is the main detoxifying organ needed to get the gross stuff (toxins, pollution, chemicals, etc) out of our bodies (if you want to know how to detox daily, check out this previous post right over here!). Glucuronic acid is created during the kombucha fermentation process and it's also made by our liver, binding itself to toxins to prevent them from being reabsorbed in our system. 

I like to think of this acid as a knight in shining armour that sacrifices itself for the greater good - because once the acid has bound to a toxin, it's forever removed from the body along with whatever is being detoxed. 

So when we think about all the chemicals we're exposed to on a daily basis, our bodies have to work pretty hard to keep up with proper detoxification. This is where supporting our liver becomes extremely important. By drinking or eating foods that increase our body's ability to detox, we're taking some of the workload away from the liver, allowing it to improve it's detox ability even more! I mean if you didn't already love drinking kombucha... 

INTERESTED IN BREWING YOUR OWN? 

Now let's get into the good stuff. HOME BREWING! 

ALL YOU NEED is a SCOBY to call your own, some previously brewed kombucha (i.e. starter liquid), some caffeinated tea (this feeds your SCOBY), sugar (this also feeds your SCOBY), a brewing vessel (any glass jar = perfect) and filtered water. 

Brewing your own booch will save you significant funds because each jar of home brew costs just pennies compared to the $4-$6 you'll spend on a store bought bottle. It also allows you to control exactly what goes into it, including the quality of the ingredients. Avoid added sugars and load up on healthy flavouring ingredients to take this concoction to the next level! 

Convinced? Curious? Questions? 

Join me for a workshop or reach out to learn MORE!

Detoxing: Does it have to be scary? by Michelle Cordeiro, CNP

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I did a juice cleanse a couple years ago. For two days all I drank was juice and the whole time I was patting myself on the back for doing such a great thing for my body (I'm often my own personal cheerleader). But then I started to think about what happens after the cleanse? Was two days enough to purge my body of all it's toxins? Am I just good to go for another year now?

Of course not.

And this is why, while there could be value in juice cleansing, it's also important to adopt ways that you can keep the toxins moving OUTTA THERE every day, rather than saving them all up for your yearly cleanse.

Detoxing doesn't mean making huge, crazy, unsustainable changes to your diet for a day or two. And it also doesn't have to mean swearing off your favourite foods or those happy hour gin and tonics (at least not in my books!).

Gentle detoxes help your body get rid of all the junk that accumulates from pesticides, pollution, plastics, alcohol, smoking, non organic animal products/produce, conventional skincare, tap water, makeup and the list goes on and on. Even if you only eat organic salads and green smoothies all day, you can still find benefit from detoxing! Your liver already has so many jobs and functions to perform, think of detoxing as your way of easing the workload.

Now remember that there are 6 channels of elimination (liver, colon, lymph, kidneys, skin and lungs) and it's beneficial to target all of them when detoxing.

But start slow! Incorporate 1 or 2 of these into your day and see how you feel. The best way to start is choosing practices that easily fit into your life and schedule so they can become a lasting change in your lifestyle. My favourites are the ones I can do right when I wake up so 1) I don't forget (heh) and 2) my day is set up on a positive tone.

Let's start easy peasy:

WATER (+ LEMON)

Targets: liver + kidneys + colon

I adopted this habit years ago thanks to a past roommate and have stuck to it ever since. Every morning I wake up and drink 1L of water FIRST THING. Drinking water throughout the day is important, but starting your day with a litre (or as much as you can!) helps to rehydrate your body after a good night’s sleep.

The more water you drink the less headaches you'll get, your BM's will be more regular and it helps to alleviate dry skin. The addition of lemon is wonderful for your main detox organ - your liver! The lemon helps to alkalize your body, because although lemons are acidic, they have an alkalizing effect when ingested which helps to prevent diseases and boost your energy.

Had a couple drinks last night? Rehydrate your body and show your liver some L.O.V.E by squeezing at least 1/2 a lemon in that glass! And if you're loving this already and looking for something more, try adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar as well. This combination helps to increase stomach acid and beneficial enzymes to properly break down your food. Great for digestion. Great for detoxing. What do you have to lose?

CHLOROPHYLL

Targets: colon

THIS. STUFF. I honestly can't get enough of chlorophyll since opening my first bottle a year ago. It's what makes plants green and healthy, yes, but is also great for your liver and therefore a key detox addition. 1 tablespoon in a litre of water (it can be that same morning litre referenced above!) helps to pull toxins through your body and clean up your colon.

If you have bad breath (or know someone who does...) this is often a sign of things not moving through your gut properly. One of my favourite benefits of drinking chlorophyll is that it's actually an internal deodorizer! SO COOL. It helps to kill odour causing bacteria in your gut and therefore kill the bad breath and body odour that's caused by this funky buildup. If it's your first time trying it, go for the mint flavour to ease into it even though I think it tastes delicious on its own (and if you've attended any of my Kombucha Workshops you know this is a staple flavour of mine!). The addiction is real.

GET SWEATY

Targets: skin + lungs + lymph

This might be an obvious one, but can't be stressed enough. A daily sweat sesh can expel toxins through your skin, one of the major but often forgotten about channels of elimination. Saunas, hot yoga, an outdoor workout (especially when the weather warms up) or whatever movement gets your body nice and sweaty!

One thing you might not think of is to always shower directly after - this washes off the toxins that you've just expelled and prevents them from being reabsorbed through your skin.

BRUSH YOUR BODY

Targets: skin + lymph

THIS! Go get a dry brush and spend some time (I promise it only takes a couple minutes) before showering brushing your body and you will become addicted, honestly. Not only does it brush off dead skin cells, it helps to open up your pores so your skin can better eliminate toxins from your body. We all know that the skin is the largest organ right? So it only makes sense that we treat it with some kindness and help it perform one of its many functions: detoxification!

Dry brushing helps to detox by getting your lymphatic system moving (known as the drainage system of your body), removes dead skin cells (which is why I stand in the shower while I brush..) and helps with proper circulation and blood flow. You can freestyle your technique somewhat, but make sure to start at your feet and brush upwards towards your heart in short strokes.

DRINK SOME BOOCH

Targets: liver

If you know me, you know I love my kombucha. Having been home brewing for the past two years I've read, seen and experienced the benefits of drinking this bubbly tea. But when I'm talking detoxification and booch, I'm talking more specifically about the glucuronic acid produced during the fermentation process. This organic acid is also made by your liver to bind to toxins and escort them out of the body.

The benefit to also drinking booch as a source of this acid is that you're again reducing the toxic load on your liver by lending it a hand in the organic acid producing department. Once this acid is bound to a toxin, it sacrifices itself to get that toxin out of your body; so drink up! Kombucha is great to drink first thing in the morning, during an afternoon slump or when you've devoured a large meal (mindfully of course!).

Simple changes, and I swear by them. Simple changes make healthy habits easier, more accessible and readily available to you on the daily. Give these a try and keep me posted on how you do.

Feel like you need a detox that goes a little deeper? Shoot me a message, I got you.